This book will open your eyes to the world of marketingThis book will open your eyes to the world of marketing
When I started dabbling in design-related work, I became very mindful of the way brands presented their products and services to their customers. Some of the creative content felt like it spoke to me, while others downright turned me off. I later realized that there’s a lot more to marketing than I thought; I’d even consider it an art form in itself, and this book allowed me to appreciate it even better.
I’ve been looking forward to sharing this book review for a while now. However, I’ll be doing it a little differently this time; instead of trying to cram all of my takeaways into a post, I’ll share just the top three principles that I feel has the most impact. I hope this new format will make it easier for you to get the gist of the post quickly and spark some thoughts in your mind. If this works better for you, please do let me know in the comments below! You may also reach out to me via my social media channels. I’ll gladly accept all of your valuable and productive feedback!
Alright, without further ado, let’s dive right into my top three takeaways from This Is Marketing by Seth Godin!
The essence of marketing is to make change happen
“Marketing is our quest to make change on behalf of those we serve, and we do it by understanding the irrational forces that drive each of us.”
The core idea of this book is to show us that empathy, engagement and story-telling are crucial for effective marketing. Marketing presents the opportunity to change the culture for the better by delivering the right message to the right people. Ultimately, effective marketing attracts the people who align with want to be involved with us.
1. Understand the needs and wants of your audience beyond demographics. Identify what they are trying to achieve, and show them the way to get there. 2. Define the type of people you want to serve, and work with the smallest viable audience. Shift your focus away from the others and have the courage to say no to those you cannot serve 3. Consistently show up for your audience to earn their trust. Show them that you can deliver the promises you make and keep up their expectations of you.
Takeaway #1 – Understand your audience beyond its demographics
“Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become.”
Essentially, marketers are agents of change for their customers. In other words, marketing is a means of showing the world that there is a better way of doing things. However, this doesn’t imply that we should start spending money on Facebook or Google ads; Indeed, it is now relatively cheaper to put ads in front of an audience with social media. However, competing for attention that we haven’t earned and deserved yet only works to create more noise in the space.
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill,”, says Harvard Business School marketing professor Theodore Levitt, “They want a quarter-inch hole!” We should aim to engage our audience and understand what it is that they truly desire. Do they really want to buy that Rolex just to tell the time? Of course not! They want the feelings that come with the possession of these products. Learn about the journey that they want to embark on, and help them reach their destination.
“It doesn’t make sense to make a key and then run around looking for a lock to open.”, shares Seth, “The only productive solution is to find a lock and then fashion a key.”
Takeaway #2 – Marketing for the masses means aiming to be average
“The relentless pursuit of mass will make you boring, because mass means average, it means the center of the curve, it requires you to offend no one and satisfy everyone.”
In the book, Seth advocates that we “want to be choosy” about the people we serve. If we “offend no one and satisfy everyone”, it will lead to compromise and generalization. Begin instead with the smallest viable market (SVM); the minimum number of people we need to truly win the hearts of to make it all worthwhile. These are the people who we can change the lives of, and will be our ambassadors in return. 1,000 of these “true fans” will always be better than the 100,000 lukewarm customers who might only consider our offering.
There will always be “winning products” that can serve a large group of people, but it will never suit everyone. We should have the courage to say, “I’m sorry, this isn’t for you” to those whose needs cannot be addressed by us. This will show that we respect their time and won’t insist that they change their beliefs.
It doesn’t matter what people you’re not seeking to serve think. What matters is whether you’ve changed the lived of the people who trust you, who have connected with you, and those who you seek to serve.
Takeaway #3 – Show up consistently to build trust and assurance in your brand
“Persistent, consistent, and frequent stories, delivered to an aligned audience, will earn attention, trust, and action.”
One important principle that marketers often overlook is the practice of showing up regularly and consistently. In a world inundated by ads everywhere we look, attention can be hard to come by. This is why when we identify our niche and the SVM, we go in strong with confidence and passion.
We need to be constantly be telling our story in our marketing efforts. Repeating the same story over and over again might be boring to us, but it exhibits consistency and builds trust. With so many different marketing channels to use today, there are certainly limitless ways to share them creatively while maintaining the same core message. Showing that we can always make a promise and deliver on them breeds assurance and builds more credibility over time.
This Is Marketing by Seth Godin is perhaps one of the best books that I’ve read on marketing. For someone without any background in business or marketing, it was an eye-opening read to learn more about the topic. The book also offers a whole slew of practical advice that we can apply to our work immediately. If you found my summary above insightful and would like to know more, I strongly recommend that you get the book!
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If you’ve read This Is Marketing by Seth Godin, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Drop a comment below, or share this post with your friends with the tag @kopi.thoughts!